Cooperative Research

Design Research Institute   Advanced Computing Research Institute   Cornell Digital Library Research Group   Cognitive Studies   Electrical Engineering


Design Research Institute (DRI)

Gregory W. Zack, Manager
Ph.D. MIT 1977

The Design Research Institute (DRI), a partnership of Xerox Corporation and Cornell University, brings computer and information science and high-performance computing technology to bear on problems of engineering design and system integration, particularly for complex electro-opto-mechanical systems. With industry scientists engaged in collaborative research on campus, the DRI brings an awareness of the needs of industry to Cornell, facilitates the transfer and use of research results, and enhances the access of new graduates to career opportunities in industry.

In the DRI, Xerox scientists on campus collaborate with Cornell faculty and students in three areas: information capture and access, collaboration technology, and computational simulation of physical systems. Most of the research projects are not proprietary and are candidates for external funding and for participation by other companies.

Research in information capture and access involves pathways and repositories for engineering information, documents, and knowledge. An important element of this work is harnessing the world wide web to serve as both a storehouse for organizational knowledge and a mechanism for retrieving it for application to new problems. Past work on digital libraries is now being extended to address corporate needs such as integrating inside-the-firewall vs outside-the-firewall views, allowing limited access through firewalls to partners and suppliers, and solving the problem of finding information on the corporate intranet.

DRI research in collaboration technology centers on LARC, a joint project with Digital Equipment Corporation. LARC is developing information capture and sharing technologies to support engineering while simultaneously optimizing group work processes and laboratory and office workspaces. In conjunction with an advanced technology group in the Xerox Wilson Center for Research and Technology in Webster, NY, LARC has created an innovative work environment featuring world-wide-web-based information sharing, innovative use of video to support lab experiments, and a project center based on Xerox Liveboards that serves as a hub of collaborative activity. A similar system has been deployed in the Design Studio of the Future in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, making use of the same technology in an educational setting.

With federal support, DRI is developing software that provides interoperability of heterogeneous databases to support concurrent engineering. A central part of this work is the development of a Metadata Dictionary, a repository of schema descriptions used by automatic data translators.

Computational simulation research in DRI is focused on silicon micro-electro-opto-mechanical sensors and actuators (MEMS) such as miniature scanning mirrors or inkjet nozzles. Static and dynamic analysis coupled with visualization of behavior of such systems by computer, instead of by building hardware prototypes, promises to greatly shorten the development cycle.

A Few Highlights

A major research emphasis this past year has been the development of a MATLAB environment for automatic differentiation, ADMIT. Graduate student Arun Verma, under the direction of T. Coleman, has created an environment for computing gradients and derivative matrices of multi-dimensional functions. Most importantly, ADMIT can be efficiently applied to very large functions: sparsity/structure of the underlying computing is exploited. Applications include nonlinear bifurcation computations (with ACRI researcher Chris Wohlever) and large boundary-value problems (with colleague Fadil Santosa at the University of Minnesota).

Van Loan finished two book projects: The third edition of ``Matrix Computations'', with Gene Golub, and a Matlab-based numerical methods book and companion instructor's manual.

Nikos Pitsianis completed his PhD thesis under Van Loan. The centerpiece of his work was the building of a ``Kronecker compiler'' that facilitates the development of high performance software for various fast transforms. The compiler is based on a set of term rewriting rules that translate high-level matrix descriptions into loops and assignment statements in any imperative programming, e.g., Fortran, C, and Matlab.

Advanced Computing Research Institute (ACRI)

Thomas F. Coleman, Director

The Advanced Computing Research Institute (ACRI) is concerned with scientific computation research and its application to engineering and scientific problems. Of particular importance is the use of advanced computer architectures and environ-ments. The ACRI, a unit of the Cornell Theory Center, is closely connected with the Computer Science Department through several faculty members and researchers.

Current research projects include: the design and application of efficient numerical algorithms for continuous optimization problems, parallelizing compilers for scientific computation (the Bernoulli project), the design of parallel algorithms for linear algebra and signal processing, the under-standing and development of new methods for the numerical solution of differential equations, automatic grid generation, large-scale computational differentiation, and large-scale inverse problems (e.g. image enhancement, tomography).

Cornell Digital Library Research Group (CDLRG)

Dean B. Krafft

The Cornell Digital Library Research Group (CDLRG) is dedicated to creating open, interoperable standards for providing digital library services over the global Internet. The CDLRG is an outgrowth of the DARPA-funded Computer Science Technical Reports Project (CS-TR) project, a collaboration of the five leading U.S. computer science departments (Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell, MIT, and Stanford) and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). The goal was to develop methods for creating a networked digital library of computer science technical reports and similar "gray" publications. As part of the CS-TR project, researchers in the CDLRG and the Xerox Design Research Institute (DRI) developed Dienst, an architecture and protocol for distributed digital document libraries. The notable features of Dienst are:

• An open protocol that supports a number of distributed library services-repositories for document storage, indices for document search, and user interfaces for a human front-end to these services.

• A document model in which documents have globally unique names, have multiple formats (e.g. PostScript, archival TIFF, OCR output), and can be retrieved in any of them.

• A distributed search architecture in which multiple distributed search engines are searched in parallel and results are combined at the user interface layer into a unified "hit" list.

An early implementation of Dienst was installed at all the participating CS-TR computer science departments, providing uniform networked access to their combined technical reports collections. As part of this effort, the Cornell Computer Science Department scanned its entire technical report collection, from 1968 through the present, and made them available through the Dienst server. The CS-TR project has evolved into the Networked Computer Science Technical Reports Library (NCSTRL) project, for which the CDLRG is the central research, development, and support site. NCSTRL is an international consortium with three primary goals:

1. It is a production computer science technical reports library. Using an extended version of the Dienst architecture, over eighty-five computer science departments and research centers worldwide cooperate in the NCSTRL collection. NCSTRL is used by thousands of researchers from around the world to search for, browse, read, and download the technical reports from these institutions.

2. NCSTRL is a foundation for the testing and demonstration of current digital library research. The CDLRG is cooperating with a number of other departments and research centers that wish to use the NCSTRL collection in this manner.

3. NCSTRL is a laboratory for exploration of and experimentation with many of the non-technical issues concerning distributed digital libraries. These include intellectual property issues and concerns about collection integrity and service integrity.

In the context of NCSTRL and in collaboration with CNRI and the joint NASA/DARPA/NSF Digital Library Initiative sites, the CDLRG is currently undertaking research in a number of fundamental digital library issues. This research focuses on four areas.

1. What is the service structure of a distributed digital library and what is the interaction between these services? In particular, CDLRG researchers are concerned with the structure of and interface to a repository, which allows for deposit of and access to objects in digital form (digital objects). Repositories are administrative entities that play a primary role in protecting the intellectual content of the contained objects.

2. How are intellectual property rights protected in a digital library environment? In particular, what is the language for expressing the terms and conditions for access to digital objects and how are these terms and conditions associated with the objects?

3. How can the digital library architecture accommodate the diverse forms of descriptive metadata that should be associated with objects? This metadata includes cataloging forms such as MARC, domain-specific forms such as CSDGM for geospatial data, and other forms expressing information about provenance, linkage, administration, structure, and the like. Not only are these different metadata forms logically distinct, but they are created and administered by separate authorities, subject to different access control rules, and stored in diverse forms including ASCII, binary, and even executable objects such as Java applets.

4. What are the methods for efficient and reliable distributed search? Whereas centralized indexing is far simpler, it will neither scale nor fit comfortably into a world where information may be partitioned among several indexing sites due to ownership or separate administration. Moreover, we can expect for the foreseeable future that the global Internet will have unpredictable and unreliable performance characteristics. In light of this, we must develop methods for mirroring, caching, and partitioning information so that response time for search and retrieval is reasonable.

As this research progresses, results will be implemented as future extensions to the Dienst architecture and deployed in the NCSTRL framework. The CDLRG consists of four full-time staff: Carl Lagoze, the Project Leader, who provides day-to-day direction for research and operations; Sandy Payette, Programmer/Analyst Specialist; David Fielding, Senior Systems Programmer; and Naomi Dushay, Programmer/Analyst III. Overall leadership for the project is provided by Dr. Dean B. Krafft. The CDLRG has also benefited greatly from the contributions of James R. Davis, of the Xerox Design Research Institute.

Cognitive Studies

The Computer Science Department plays a visible role in the university's Cognitive Studies Program. The year-long Cognitive Studies Proseminar (COGST 773/4; CS 773/4) traditionally begins with an introduction to the computational aspects of cognitive science. In Fall 1996, six CS faculty and researchers (Claire Cardie, Robert Constable, Joseph Halpern, Mandar Mitra, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Ramin Zabih) provided weekly lectures to introduce the theoretical and methodological issues that underlie computer science and that link computer science with linguistics, philosophy, and psychology.

Halpern is co-director of the program, along with Frank Keil from Psychology. Zabih helped to direct the undergraduate Cognitive Studies Concentration, and Cardie runs the NSF-sponsored Graduate Research Training Program in Cognitive Science.

Each year, this program supports approximately 5 Ph.D. students who plan to pursue interdisciplinary research problems that connect Computer Science with other disciplines in Cognitive Studies. In addition to faculty support of the Cognitive Studies Program, graduate student interest in the field remained strong. Four Computer Science graduate students presented papers in the 1996-1997 Proseminar (Athanasios Kyparlis, David Pierce, Anne Vandeventer and Eric Vitrano). In addition, four CS Ph.D. students (Rick Aaron, Nicholas Howe, Vera Kettnaker, Julia Komissarchik) had abstracts selected for presentation at the Annual Cognitive Studies Graduate Student Research Forum held on October 19, 1996.

Electrical Engineering

The Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments have significantly increased their collaborations and joint planning activities in recent years. These research and curriculum devel-opment activities are focused primarily in the broad area of information technology. Recent hires in both units ?he Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments have significantly in?reased their collaborations and joint planning activities in recent years. These research and curriculum devel-opment activities are focused primarily in the broad area of innfrastructure to link remote offices and labs. These efforts are not limited to research programs but also include joint curriculum development. For example, Professors Hemami and Zabih co-taught a seminar on visual motion, which was cross-listed in both departments.

This site was last modified on 10/10/05.